The Pentagon Barracks and the Old Arsenal

While the primary defense for the mouth of the Mississippi River in colonial times was in New Orleans, Baton Rouge was also an important military location. It was one of the staging areas for the war of 1812 and also served in the Civil War. So here are some photos of a few still-existing military locations in Baton Rouge.

The Pentagon Barracks. Named for its shape–from above the five buildings look like a pentagon. Built in 1819, it was occupied by the Confederates in 1861 and then by Union troops in 1862.

A view of the inner courtyard. In 1886, the Federal Government turned the buildings over to Louisiana State University. Today, the buildings house offices for the Louisiana State Legislature.

The Old Arsenal Building. Originally an earthen building built in 1810, in 1835 it was converted into this brick structure. There’s a small museum inside, but it is run by volunteers and seems to have irregular hours–it was closed every time I stopped by.

The heavy walls not only protected the magazine from artillery fire, but protected the surrounding area from the effects of an accidental explosion. It was used to store munitions until 1885.

Next to the Arsenal building was an old Indian burial mound. Built by the Coles Creek culture around 1000 CE.

The mound was used as an officer’s cemetery during the 1800’s, and during the Civil War was turned into a small cannon redoubt to protect the Mississippi River.

And across the street is the Louisiana Governor’s Mansion.







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